Aerials and dishes

Increasing numbers of people are using cable to receive TV and radio. This section is not for them. If you live away from a town, or do not want to rent cable, you must use an aerial to pick up signals from terrestrial (earth-based) transmitters or a dish for freesat.

This page contains general points about aerial and dish installation. There are further pages with separate, detailed help over terrestrial aerials and satellite dishes.

General points about installing aerials and dishes

Putting up an aerial or dish usually involves climbing on ladders and roofs. You should only think of doing this if you are agile, happy with heights and aware of the dangers and how to avoid them. You can download safety leaflets from even better option is to use a scaffold tower, which can be hired.

The down feed cable can go into the house through a hole drilled through the wall, or less desirably under a tile. In either case leave a loop hanging below the entry so rain doesn't run in along the cable. If possible fit a moulded plastic cover over the hole. These are called something like brick buster or cable hole shield cover. Alternatively you could use a soft grommet if there are only one or two cables.

Cable hole shield cover


Always use top quality co-axial cable, as poorer cable will reduce or even corrupt your signal. Cables should be fixed to the mast or bracket, but if using plastic cable ties be careful to pull them up loose enough so they do not kink the cable. For that reason, some people prefer to use amalgamating adhesive tape.

Fixing cables to outside walls is always a problem if you use standard cable clips with nails. They won't go in or they fall out immediately. Worse still they crush the cable. Much better is to use cable tie mounts, which you push into a drilled hole. You then loop cable ties through and round the cables. It looks neat and doesn't fail after a time. You can also change cables without removing the mount.

Cable tie mount.
Cable ties holding cables in place.


Finally you need a flush or surface mounted aerial or satellite socket near to each TV or tuner. Don't spoil it now by using thin connection wires to the TV. Good ones cost little more and don't waste your precious signal.



(C) Peter Scott 2009

Last edit 17 April 2017